vorige Hefte

Felipe Ravinet de la Fuente:
The settlement of the El Teniente copper mine - a Chilean national monument

The mining town of Sewell, located in Region VI, about 60 km to the east of Rancagua and South of the capital Santiago de Chile, is closely connected with the El Teniente copper mine. El Teniente, located on the Cerro Negro at an altitude of 2200 metres, is the world's largest underground copper mine, producing copper from deep in the heart of the Andes. The mine, which now belongs to CODELCO, has a long history. Full-scale mining operations here started in 1905 when the Chilean government granted permission to American William Braden to operate a mine. The town of Sewell experienced dramatic growth in connection with infrastructure development, In 1988, at the peak of the company's development, about 15,000 people lived in Sewell, in a built-up area of 175,000 square metres.

Many of the facilities of a normal town were built at Sewell - a church, a cinema, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, schools and a roller-skating rink. Stairs were built to connect the buildings and facilities, which were located on different levels. This is why Sewell is also known as the "City of the Staircases". In 1989, Sewell was listed as a historic monument. and in 1999, CODELCO launched an ambitious project to make Sewell a tourist attraction for Chile and, if possible, to ensure that the town was classed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The article deals with the history of the mining town of Sewell.